Try to picture scheduling meetings without your calendar handy — even just a written schedule can save you time and help you avoid double-booking a dentist appointment and performance review (which is nobody’s idea of a good time). Just like your personal and work calendars would be a mess without one, your social media accounts need (and deserve) a structured schedule.
A social media calendar helps formalize the process of creating and publishing content by giving you a structured schedule to work with.
We’ve got you covered in Buffer on the how of planning and creating content. We’ve also recently updated our app’s built-in calendar to help you draft, preview, schedule, and publish all of your social media posts without having to leave the app.
But why is a calendar important in the first place? We’ve put together our thoughts and asked some experts to share theirs on the benefits of social media content calendars.
Save time and organize your processes
A social media calendar can help you save time by keeping all your ideas and posts in one place.
A calendar also allows you to create content in advance when you have the big picture of when everything is meant to go out. And this can help you mitigate the risk of mistakes by allowing you to review content ahead of time.
When creating a social media calendar, Colin Toh at Headphonesty looks at two factors, “says, when my audience is most active and if there are any relevant events to tie content into. I create my content calendar three months in advance by following trends and around product drops and review schedules.”
Identify and execute more ambitious social media campaigns
A calendar helps you create a big picture and identify social media campaigns for your team to execute. If you know that a big company event is coming up, or a product will be launched in a few months, you can create a detailed campaign.
Vikki Tokarz, Head of Community at Scribe, finds calendars very useful for organizing campaigns especially if the campaign is multi-faceted (across social media sites) and lengthy – anything more than a day or two is not manageable without one.
Calendars are also great for visualizing how each planned post for your campaigns might look on your feed, as Caleigh Alleyne, PR & Communications Manager at Storytap can attest. She says, “[With calendars]...we can plan the order of posts to flow the best and create visuals that feel cohesive in the feed and on our grid, but also have a quick way to see how our campaigns will work with our regular content from both a timing and a visual perspective.”
Once you organize your processes, you can focus all your energy on creativity. You can also keep track of social, cultural, and historical moments that are relevant to your audience or brand to tap into for future campaigns.
Improve posting consistency
Growing an audience is no longer as simple as just posting when you feel like it. Consistency factors into a lot of platforms’ decisions to push certain content. Basically, the more consistently you post, the better your chances of getting in front of your target audience.
“Frequency is something we think about a lot, and while we want to maintain a constant social presence, we use the calendar to plan for the seasonal ebbs and flows of business and ramp up or scale back posts accordingly,” says John Li, co-founder of Fig Loans.
A sharing schedule can help you increase traffic and audience engagement, especially if you’re providing your audience with valuable and relevant information. Plus, by scheduling content to go out like clockwork, you never have to miss key posting times again.
Caleigh Alleyne has found a sharing rhythm where she can publish content on the best days. She shares that calendars help determine what content performs best in a monthly schedule and provide a visual for what the content and creative assets will look like. As she shares, “This is also helpful to draw month-over-month comparisons and understand how our growth and engagement rate shift throughout the month.”
Create higher-quality content
When you start organizing your content topics either on your own or with a team, the chances are that through a surge of creativity, you could end up with a lot of new ideas. Even if something can’t be used immediately, you can save it for future use. Mixing new ideas with evergreen content can be a good way to make sure your calendar is always updated.
Vikki Tokarz also has some important advice for creating social media calendar content. “Write timely, viral content when you have it, and schedule your ‘bread and butter’ (evergreen) content to cultivate a persistent, relatable social presence.”
Every platform has different rules that work for it. Planning for each channel can help you identify opportunities to repurpose content or create entirely new posts.
Finding the balance between timely and evergreen content is key. Sometimes winging it with viral moments will work, but quality content requires a level of preparation and effort. Randomly picked topics that don’t resonate with your audience can hurt your engagement. A planned content calendar will allow you to spot such blunders, so you only publish fresh and relevant content.
Improve tracking and analysis of performance
A calendar can also help you track post and campaign performance. By monitoring and analyzing your audience’s engagement and feedback, you can gain valuable insights into their preferences which you can later apply to your content.
Consider adopting Bryan Maniotakis' (MinimalGoods.co) strategy for experimenting with and analyzing content. As he shares, “If I focus on a certain type of content for a week, I can quickly compare the results (engagement/ following/etc) with another type of content in a different week, to get a better understanding of group performance over time.”
Analyzing content performance can also show you where you need to double down on your efforts or cut out the content entirely. For example, Facebook’s organic reach has slowed for a lot of accounts, but paid ads continue to perform well. Knowing whether you need to invest in more paid ads or organic content can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Create a social media calendar for long-term success
A well-organized social media calendar can set you and your team up for long-term success, it also doesn’t have to stifle your creativity either. Think of a calendar as setting up systems so that you have all the time in the future to think up amazing new ideas. You might also find that a calendar helps during dry spells and helps you identify old but evergreen content that can be recycled.
➡️ Start planning your content in the Buffer app today.